One thing I have done every day for many years is to read the newspaper. When I lived in San Francisco I got the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle delivered, and also read the Bay Guardian and the Bay Area Reporter (an LGBT newspaper) weekly.
Here in the Philippines, there are many newspapers published. Most are in Tagalog, about 2-3 dozen different dailies, mostly in tabloid form. The Tagolog papers are usually 10 pesos each (about 25 cents).
In English, there are 3 daily newspapers that are available in Manila as well as in many provinces:
The Philippine Star
The Philippine Inquirer
The Manila Bulletin
It’s often a bit difficult to find newspapers. Most 7-11 stores sell them, and perhaps 1 in 20 of the small “sari-sari” stores that line most roads sell newspapers. Some major hotels will sell newspapers. Mini-Marts and other convenience stores may sell newspapers. Most shopping malls do not sell newspapers, and most bookstores do not. You can buy newspapers at the Mall of Asia, one of the largest malls, in Manila.
You can find the International Herald Tribune, published by the New York Times, at some of the best hotels in Manila. If you are living in Manila you can get daily delivery of the IHT. In the provinces, even in Tagaytay, the only delivery available is several days later, for about 3 times the cost.
There are several other English dailies that you can get in Manila, and sometimes elsewhere. Most of these have a business focus.
The best day for newspapers here is not Sunday, but Saturday. The Saturday Manila Bulletin has a 16-page insert from the New York Times. The Manila Bulletin will often print the full transcript of speeches by US presidents. All 3 of these dailies often carry editorials from the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, or other major US newspapers.
On Sunday the newspapers are larger, but the ad content seems higher and the news percentage lower.
The prices are the same every day – 18 to 20 pesos for the 3 dailies. The other English-language dailies tend to be around 30 pesos, for a larger-format but much thinner paper.
Much of the content of the newspaper here is promotional. There is often not that clear a boundary between advertising and news. Many of the articles are basically press releases from a corporation, promoting their latest offering.
But there is also real news. Lots of news about the Philippines, both national politics and issues and local or regional news. Also many “lifestyle” stories. You can learn a great deal about life here by reading the newspaper.
In the Philippine Inquirer, always check the second or later pages of the Metro section for world news. The Philippine Star has a World section.
The Star and the Inquirer have the best editorial and opinion pages. My favorite columnists are William Esposo (“As I Wreck This Chair”) in the Star, and Conrad de Quiros (“There’s the Rub”) in the Inquirer. Both bring a sense of Philippine history to their treatment of national politics, and often cover international topics as well.
A note about William Esposo. I first read his column because I
loved the title – As I Wreck This Chair. I continued reading because of his intelligence, writing skill, command of history, and because I usually agreed with his opinions. Then I had the experience myself of destroying a chair. There are a lot of flimsy plastic chairs here, made of resin. We had a few in our kitchen in our old apartment in Batangas. One day I was sitting on one and all of a sudden I was on the floor. Since then I avoid sitting on those chairs. I’ve lost some weight but I think I’m still a bit too heavy for them. So I can identify with William Esposo.
Of course, all these papers have Internet sites where you can read the news from anywhere in the world.
Here is a list: